Emergency vet or OTC treatment for dog toe injury?
April 29, 2018 1:11 PM   Subscribe

This Is Ditto and he has what could be a bug bite or something else on his toe. The vet is closed. Does he need to go to the emergency vet? Is there something I can get over-the-counter to put on it? (Photo below the fold.)

Here’s his back right toes, which I noticed after I saw him licking them more than normal. The toe looks a bit swollen and he has rubbed the skin on the toe and the toe next to it raw licking at it. I tried to look between the toes and I don’t see anything other than more raw skin—no bite or material irritating it.

I noticed his toe when we were arriving back home after a short hike in the woods just now, but I think I also saw him licking the same foot earlier today, before our hike, so it might have happened before. He is otherwise acting happy and fine, wagging his tail, taking treats and running, and is not even limping on that foot. He doesn’t want me to touch it, but that’s it.

Our regular vet and back-up vet are closed. We could go to the emergency vet but I’d rather not if that’s a big overreaction. Would you? If not, is there some kind of human or over-the-counter topical pet treatment I could get at Petsmart tonight that would help before we can take him to the vet in the morning? I’ve put him in a cone for now (although he can probably still get to that foot).

posted by rustcellar to Pets & Animals (15 answers total)
I'm a pretty alarmist (one might say overbearing) pet owner and I wouldn't bother with the emergency vet - I'd just try to keep him from messing with it and call your regular vet tomorrow morning.
posted by something something at 1:22 PM on April 29, 2018 [5 favorites]

You can give benadryl 1mg per pound, or you can start at half that and see how it looks in a few hours and give the rest if you think it's helping. See other OTC antihistamine dosages (note: I know the zyrtec is low - it's 10mg twice a day for dogs over 10lbs, because one of mine gets it daily).

I don't go to the vet unless there's an obvious change in mood or mobility, and it sounds like you're fine on both fronts. Know that the benadryl will make a dog just as drowsy as a person, don't let it freak you out.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:26 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Agreeing with something something, this doesn't look like an emergency vet issue. Think of it this way: if you found a big, red, itchy bump on your own toe, would you go to the ER or would you wait a day or two and then make a doctor's appointment if it didn't get better? Call your vet tomorrow.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:26 PM on April 29, 2018 [5 favorites]

BTW my guess, from dog experience, is that's a bug bite that was stinging or itching. The benadryl should reduce the redness and any itching so she'll stop messing with it, but do discourage her from messing with it if you can.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah- I would regular vet if it didn’t get better after a day or two but would not emergency vet for this. Can you put a bootie on it to reduce the likelihood he’ll lick it to death before tomorrow?
posted by charmedimsure at 1:33 PM on April 29, 2018

When my dog had a paw that looked like this it turned out that it was a result of his food allergies and the swelling was only from him licking excessively due to itchiness (not sure why he focused on one paw). He ended up needing antibiotics because the area he licked raw got infected but that took a couple days and he was acting lethargic by then. It can wait till Monday.

I would rinse his paw thoroughly with cool water to remove irritants/bacteria and to soothe it then dry it and cover with a cotton sock to prevent him licking.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 1:36 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yep, clean it gently, apply a sock, OTC meds.
posted by jbenben at 1:51 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do you have foxtail weed in your area? I had a Scottish Terrier that would get them embedded in between his toes sometimes and it looked like that picture of yours. I think it's ok to wait till tomorrow to go in. Don't be alarmed by the title on the article, the vet down the page even says she's never seen it happen, I think it's just to get you to read the article.
posted by BoscosMom at 1:52 PM on April 29, 2018

I would not emergency vet this. He does not appear to be in pain he can't tolerate or in danger of losing his toe, so it can wait IMHO.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Cal the vet's office in the morning, meanwhile keep it clean.

He is impossibly adorable; how is that even legal to be so darn cute?
posted by theora55 at 2:59 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Looks just like the hot spot my guy got on his foot. They can be caused by different things, but it was allergies for us. If he’s licking at it, I’d put him in a cone or a sock in order to prevent that but otherwise it’s not emergency-vet-level.
posted by mosst at 6:02 PM on April 29, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. You’re the best. We cleaned it and wrapped it and gave him Benadryl. He’s passed out and we’ll call the vet in the morning.
posted by rustcellar at 7:33 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Further evidence. You can follow him on Instagram under dibblydits.
posted by rustcellar at 8:46 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for your tips, everybody. We took Ditto to the vet the next day and she prescribed a topical antibiotic/steroid powder and an oral antibiotic (and gave him a longer cone he couldn’t actually reach his back paw into), and approved of 2-3 Benadryl a day. After a week in the cone he finally stopped fussing at it and it’s back to normal now. Here he is all dressed up for his gotcha day last week.
posted by rustcellar at 5:07 PM on May 19, 2018

Yay! Glad he's doing better.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:11 PM on May 19, 2018

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